Dan Feldman

2014 NBA Finals - Game Four
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ray Allen announces retirement


Rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor.

Maybe it’s time to treat Ray Allen – who’s 41 and hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014 – as truly retired.

Allen in a letter to his younger self in The Players Tribune:

I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game. I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.

This means nothing officially. If Allen wants to come back, he still can. He’s a free agent will remain a free agent.

But it suggests he’s at peace with his career ending – a state that wasn’t always the case.

If Allen, who famously keeps himself in tip-top shape, is finished, he’ll likely head to the Hall of Fame in a couple years. He’s the all-time leader in 3-pointers made (though Stephen Curry will likely pass him) and a 10-time All-Star. His peak might not match other all-time greats, but he was very good over 18 seasons with the Bucks, Sonics, Celtics and Heat. Longevity matters, too. Allen also won a couple championships, one with Boston and one with Miami thanks to one of the most clutch shots in NBA history:

NBA: Grizzlies got away with three-second violation before crucial stop in OT win over Wizards (video)

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Marc Gasol hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and the added two more 3s in overtime to give him four for the game – more than he’d ever made in the season.

The Grizzlies’ win over the Wizards provided quite the story for Gasol.

But with correct officiating down the stretch, maybe it wouldn’t have been.

Gasol got away with a defensive three-second violation with 1:13 left in regulation, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Gasol (MEM) is in the paint without actively guarding an opponent for longer than three seconds.

Gasol used his positioning to help stifle Washington’s offense. Instead of getting a free throw – which would have been huge in a game that went to overtime – and a chance to reset against a legal defense, the Wizards saw their possession end with Bradley Beal getting blocked by Gasol as the shot clock expired.

We can’t know what would’ve happened with a correct call, but the odds would have favored Washington winning.

The biggest loser in this incorrect non-call? Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who probably wouldn’t have had his glasses elbowed off his face by a fan in an alternate reality where the game never reached overtime.

Report: Celtics decline James Young’s team option

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 11:  James Young #13 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarteragainst the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden on December 11, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

James Young barely made the Celtics’ regular season roster this year.

They’re not holding a spot for him for next year.

Boston is declining Young’s $2,803,507 team option for 2017-18.

Bobby Marks of Yahoo Sports:

This seems like a bad bet by the Celtics.

There are two possibilities: Young remains a forgettable NBA player, or Young develops into a productive player.

The latter is more likely, and if that happens, Boston will be happy to have a few extra million in cap space next summer.

But if Young plays well, there isn’t much the Celtics can do to get value from him beyond this season.

He’ll be a restricted free agent when his contract expires, and his previous team can pay him a starting salary up to only $2,803,507. So, Boston would have a hard time re-signing him if he looks like even a rotation-worthy player on a bad team.

The Celtics would also have tough time trading him if he becomes a decent player, because – barring a Collective Bargaining Agreement change – his new team could offer just $2,803,507 starting to re-sign him this offseason. Essentially, he’ll have either no value or value only as a rental.

Boston will have so much cap flexibility next summer, waiving Young would barely make a dent – especially if he’s stretched. But to avoid the possibility of that small inconvenience, the Celtics are forgoing the possibility of a far bigger upside.

Young is unlikely to play well enough to make Boston pay. But he’s talented, and 21-year-olds are unpredictable.

If I were the Celtics, I would’ve exercised the option – even if it’s unlikely to pay off. The potential reward outweighs the risk.

Joel Embiid staying in Philadelphia for 76ers’ second leg of back-to-back at Hornets

joel embiid
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Play in back-to-backs?

Joel Embiid isn’t even travelling for the 76ers’ first back-to-back.

Jahlil Okafor isn’t ready for two games in two nights, either.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

The Sixers have consecutive games on Tuesday at home against the Magic and Wednesday on the road against the Hornets. Embiid will play Tuesday and stay back in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The team is planning for Okafor to sit out against the Magic (he will be suited up and available) and play in Charlotte.

More teams should probably do this. It’s not just playing so much in short spans that wears down NBA players. It’s also the travel. If you’re certain Embiid won’t play, let him really rest by staying home.

It’s a small sample, but Embiid has looked good so far. At some point, the 76ers will need him on the court more to win.

But with Okafor, Ben Simmons, Nerlens Noel and Jerryd Bayless also ailing, this team (especially) isn’t ready to win now, anyway.

Report: Thunder agree to four-year, $84 million contract extension with Victor Oladipo

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26: Victor Oladipo #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Thunder defeated the 76ers 103-97. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Thunder were talking contract extensions with Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo, and it seemed they were making more headway with Adams.

But Oladipo beat him to the punch.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Paying Oladipo $21 million per year seems fair enough. In league with a dearth of quality wings and an increased need for them in order to play small, Oladipo might have gotten a max deal in free agency. So, Oklahoma City shaves a little off a deal that could have paid about $26 million annually.

But Oladipo was also no lock to receive a max offer sheet. He has yet to shoot league average on 3-pointers, and his defensive presence is only beginning to be established. It would have been reasonable for the Thunder to gauge Oladipo’s development this year before committing so much money.

Still, the 24-year-old Oladipo is an excellent athlete who’s starting to put his defensive tools to good use. An improving 3-point shot could open the rest of his offense.

This is not a perfect bet. It is not a bad bet.

Oladipo’s extension could also open the door to Adams signing one. A concern with both extensions was reducing cap flexibility next offseason, but Oladipo’s extension already erases plenty of Oklahoma City’s maneuverability. An Adams extension would present diminishing losses in cap room at this point.

Also keep an eye on what Serge Ibaka gets this summer. The Thunder traded the pending unrestricted free agent for Oladipo, likely thinking locking up Oladipo would be easier than Ibaka.